engines-cogs-_5.jpg  This is #5 in a 10 part series on your Company’s Systems (see the original Systems Post here) 

This fifth post references how to operate your company on a “flow of information”framework.  That is, you want to set up your Company’s Systems to line up with the way in which information flows through your company.

There is a way in which information flows intuitively through your company, depending on your industry, your management style, your geography, your targeted niche and so many more.  It may not always seem intuitive (what, with all the chaos going on at the office), but there is probably some kind of recognizable process that information takes on as it enters and exits your organization.  Figure out what that process is… and manipulate the crap out of it!

You want to bend this “flow of information” process to your needs… your management tool needs, your reporting needs, your profitability measurement needs, etc.  If you can manage this flow, then you can know stuff you’ve never known, and you can serve your client/customer in a whole new way (which to me, typically means more “Benjamins” coming your way).

Here’s how to do it:

1.  Study the entry point of information into your Company.  All types of info enter into your Company in many different ways.  Sales leads may come into your organization through your website.  Customer complaints may come into your company through the sales staff.  New business ideas may come through regular attendance at trade shows.  However it enters the company, and for whatever purpose, you want to know that process in and out.  You may want to sit down with some decision-makers in your company and chart this “flow of information” on a wipe board to become more intimate with it.  Then…

2.  Grab the information from “the flow” – never let valuable data slip through your company without being captured.  “Many people know many different things that many people don’t know.”  In other words, there are a lot of people on the forefront of a company (where info initially enters the entity), and they know a lot of little things that could change the way a company operates.  But though these people know many things they aren’t telling other people because they don’t know how these “many” things fit into the “flow of information” model for your Company (whew!).  Create new forms to capture that info, get it into sales lead software, require sales staff (or whomever) to assist in capturing the data for future use, etc.  Don’t just do it sometimes, announce the new policies and procedures to the whole company to capture this information, then you will be accountable to follow through and commit to capturing it.  Explain to everyone why you are accumulating this new information and how it will make you a better company.  New databases will be created, problems will arise that you’ve never seen before and new ideas will be generated just by studying the process of how info enters your company.

3.  Manipulate this new fat mound of information with a vengeance.  I’m never an advocate of implementing procedures and policies unless they have some benefit.  Studying your “flow of information” only has benefit when you use the data.  Implement new monthly meetings to analyze this new found data, make decisions with it and change your company from the inside out!  I teach this simple step with QuickBooks when training so many of our clients.  This software has such high-end capabilities to capture financial information, but it all depends on how my clients know their information flow (study it!) and how they grab that information.  Otherwise, I can’t help them manipulate it AND CHANGE!  And our firm can make QuickBooks do so much more than track financial info – we can make that software a management tool in so many ways, tracking referral sources, client account numbers sorted by state, regional customers, types of customers (ethnicity, age, marital status, etc.), effective branding, and so many more.

The “flow of information” framework in your company is so important to implementing your Systems.  You must know it and operate your company around it.  If you commit to this, you will know success, or you will at least know why you are not successful.  Here’s to the flow…

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

<—– #4 in the Systems Series